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Patterns of Growth—Biomimetics and Architectural Design
Open AccessArticle

Form Follows Environment: Biomimetic Approaches to Building Envelope Design for Environmental Adaptation

School of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Academic Editor: Maibritt Pedersen Zari
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings7020040
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 27 April 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics in Sustainable Architectural and Urban Design)
Building envelopes represent the interface between the outdoor environment and the indoor occupied spaces. They are often considered as barriers and shields, limiting solutions that adapt to environmental changes. Nature provides a large database of adaptation strategies that can be implemented in design in general, and in the design of building envelopes in particular. Biomimetics, where solutions are obtained by emulating strategies from nature, is a rapidly growing design discipline in engineering, and an emerging field in architecture. This paper presents a biomimetic approach to facilitate the generation of design concepts, and enhance the development of building envelopes that are better suited to their environments. Morphology plays a significant role in the way systems adapt to environmental conditions, and provides a multi-functional interface to regulate heat, air, water, and light. In this work, we emphasize the functional role of morphology for environmental adaptation, where distinct morphologies, corresponding processes, their underlying mechanisms, and potential applications to buildings are distinguished. Emphasizing this morphological contribution to environmental adaptation would enable designers to apply a proper morphology for a desired environmental process, hence promoting the development of adaptive solutions for building envelopes. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomimetics; building envelope; architectural design; morphology; adaptation; environment; heat; water; air; light biomimetics; building envelope; architectural design; morphology; adaptation; environment; heat; water; air; light
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Badarnah, L. Form Follows Environment: Biomimetic Approaches to Building Envelope Design for Environmental Adaptation. Buildings 2017, 7, 40.

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